Information About Transhumeral Amputations and Elbow Disarticulations
Elbow dislocations and transhumeral amputations tend to result from catastrophic injuries, whereby the bones of the arm (humerus) or forearm (radius and ulna, forming the lower parts of the elbow) are dislocated. Approximately 20,000 to 30,000 people undergo amputations every year for one reason or another, and they can be complete or partial amputations.
Elbow dislocations tend to occur when someone falls onto an outstretched hand, sending force to the elbow and causing it to rotate out of its socket, or as a result of auto accidents, when individuals reach forward in order to protect themselves from the impact, sending that same force through the arm, dislocating the elbow.
With an elbow disarticulation, the radius and ulna are not just dislocated, but amputated, resulting in loss of the entire forearm at the elbow. This can happen, for example, as the result of an auto accident, when vehicles are traveling at excessive speeds, or as the result of other negligent behavior, such as an injury on the job, where there has been insufficient training or supervision. For example, a worker may be injured while working with a conveyer belt, causing a crushing injury to the arm, resulting in an elbow disarticulation.
There are some significant challenges when it comes to fitting a prosthesis to this type of amputation, as elbow disarticulations require the use of outside locking hinges or placing the prosthetic elbow distal to the normal placement of the elbow. Both of these can lead to serious functional issues, since they are not in keeping with the natural proportions of the arm.
A transhumeral (or above-elbow) amputation results in the loss of the entire limb between the shoulder and elbow. They can be metaphyseal (high), diaphyseal, or supracondylar.
Transhumeral amputations, like elbow disarticulations, can result from infection, work injuries (due to operating heavy machinery), as well as other accidents. Complications can arise during the amputation itself, such as deep infections, loss of motion, phantom limb pain, and wound dehiscence. However, although these procedures are rare, they can also be necessary, especially if there are soft-tissue and/or bone tumors that can only be managed in this manner.
In addition, fitting a prosthesis to this type of amputation can be even more challenging than with elbow disarticulation, as soft tissue envelope can develop surrounding the humerus, making rotation and control of any prosthesis difficult.
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If you have suffered from an elbow disarticulation or transhumeral amputation after an accident, contact our law offices today for assistance. We understand the emotional and physical turmoil that losing a limb can cause, and our priority is to help you obtain the compensation you need to get your life back. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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